NSWC Stolen_valor

Published on May 12th, 2013 | by Chris Hagerman


Stolen Valor – Navy SEAL Imposters (Part One)

This article is courtesy of Navy SEAL Don Shipley = enjoy.

Since the beginning of Naval Special Warfare in early 1943, there have been roughly 17,600 men who completed training of some sort and served with the Naval Special Warfare Teams (including the Underwater Demolition Teams, the SEAL Teams and the earlier NSW units of WWII).

Of those 17,600 men, roughly 10,000 (or fewer) are still living, and approximately 2,400 of those living members are currently serving on active duty.


Just got this off Don’s FB wall…they just keep coming…


The ”Top Ten” pick up lines bartenders heard used on women? Number One was “I was a Navy SEAL.”There are only about 7,000 former (i.e. non-serving) Navy SEALs scattered among our nation’s population of 313+MILLION. That’s approximately one (1) former Navy SEAL for every 45 THOUSAND citizens…

You have a far greater chance of meeting a former NFL football player than you have of ever encountering a real Navy SEAL.

With that said, the FBI estimates that there are 300 SEAL Imposters for every living Navy SEAL. Verifying at least a dozen and often over 20 fraudulent SEAL claims each day, I put the number much, much higher than 300.

All classes taught by a SEAL Instructor, in BUD/S or SEAL Team, always begin with a “War Story” from the Instructor to establish creditability on the subject matter being taught by him, or to entertain the class and keep their attention. I’m no exception to the rule…

Phony Navy SEAL

Another imposter….

Shooting a game of pool with a few SEAL buddies one night in the Philippines, our game was interrupted by a few guys (jerks) who had consumed a couple bottles of Loudmouth and a shot of Bruce lee and they wanted the pool table. I moved in close to the biggest guy who was blocking my shot, as he obviously seemed to be the Ring Leader of the gang. I asked him what command he was assigned to and he slowly began to scan the bar left and right as if what he was about to say would shock me and he didn’t want anyone else to overhear it.

Secret Stuff…

Looking me right in the eyes he quietly muttered the words “SEAL Team SIX.”

Before his lips were even closed after saying the word “SIX” my fist impacted his ugly mug and he was down in an unconscious pile of Fleet Sailor. We then proceeded to beat up all his friends from the U.S.S Paint Me Daily for good measure.

I don’t really recall how I got my start exposing fraudulent SEAL Claims, what event sent me over the edge, but I’ve always liked a good fight and defending things that needed someone to STAND UP.

At 50-years old, I’m not as fast with my fists as I used to be, but I’m lethal with a keyboard and anyone who attempts to steal the Honor of SEAL Team has their hands full with me…

The FBI estimates that there are 300 SEAL Imposters for every living Navy SEALMilitary Imposters are NOT a new phenomenon, and men throughout history have claimed participation with Roman Legions in battle and claimed to have served with Washington at Valley Forge when they did not. What is NEW is the Internet and centuries of phonies who were only able to spread their B.S within their village and projecting it no further than a few barstools down in their local pub are over.

With the Internet now, they can be whatever they want to be and spread their crap World Wide…

A Census taken during August, 2000, showed the surviving U.S. Vietnam Veteran population estimate to be: 1,002,511. During this Census count, the number of Americans falsely claiming to have served in-country is: 13,853,027. By this census, FOUR OUT OF FIVE WHO CLAIM TO BE Vietnam vets are not.


Rev. Jim Moats lied to his own church members and the media


Many believe it’s not possible to verify if someone was ever a Navy SEAL due to the secretive nature of their work. That their records are sealed or that only the President has access to them. Much of it comes from the Phonies themselves by pulling out the Trump Card and saying “It’s Classified, I can’t tell you.”

The “It’s Classified” line is a good one and an end all in most cases. I mean really, how do you call “Poser” on someone who claims “It’s Classified?” How do you know for sure?

Well, it’s pretty easy…

SEAL Training in the Navy, BUD/S, (Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL School) is an “Unclassified” Navy School and much like any other school in the Military. It’s no big secret where BUD/S is located and it’s no big secret what is taught there.

When a man graduates BUD/S Training in the Navy, or even begins it and fails, he is listed in a “database.” Records are kept…

You have a far greater chance of meeting a former NFL football player than you have of ever encountering a real Navy SEAL.It’s NO different than when you graduated High School, College, worked at Home Depot or spent some time in the Gray Bar Hotel on a trumped up murder charge. There are records of you for about everything you do or have done.

The fact that a SEAL goes on to more secretive work with more secretive Teams, has NO IMPACT on him being listed as a graduate of BUD/S Training.

That being said… The “Database” of Navy SEALs is considered “Sensitive” and will never be posted where just anybody can view it for obvious security reasons.

The “SEAL Database” is an alphabetical listing of EVERY man who ever graduated any form of training for Navy Combat Demolition Units, Underwater Demolition Teams, Scouts and Raiders and SEAL Training and dates back to 1943 at our inception during WWII. EVERY MAN, without exception is listed there.

When asked if Jimmy Crackcorn was ever a Navy SEAL I just scroll down to “Crackcorn” and look for James or Jimmy.

Some names are easier than others as there are a number of Jones, Smith/s and Johnsons as an example, so a middle name and approximate age is sometimes required. A lot of people use middle names as their first names to friends and acquaintances, my wife included, and we are always extremely careful to thoroughly check to see if there is a Robert “Jimmy” Crackcorn listed.

Recently the Internet blew up over a former Navy SEAL named “Neil Smit” and his new position as chief executive of Comcast Cable. It was a BIG DEAL and SEAL Verifiers like myself were going NUTS at how brazen a guy could be in such a high position and claiming to have been a Navy SEAL.

SEAL Verifiers are meticulous and we do our homework before raising the Phony Flag. We check, check, and check again…

There was NO LISTING for a “Neil Smit” as ever being a Navy SEAL.

Looking closely, there WAS a listing for a “Cornelius” Smit, though, and I saved myself a punch in the face by Neil AKA Cornelius who was in fact a SEAL…


Not many outside of the SPECWAR Community, and VERY few in the Community, can accurately rely on asking someone for their BUD/S Class number as proof if they are/were a SEAL or not. BUD/S, UDTR, UDTB and UDTRA Training Classes have been numbered starting with Class ZERO that became the first Class to train in Coronado, California in 1950 but Class ONE graduated Training in 1947 at Little Creek.

Class 100 graduated Training in Coronado in January, 1979.

Class 200 graduated Training in Coronado in August, 1995.

Class 300 will begin Training in Coronado in 2012.

Everything in between is a jumbled mix of 5 SEAL Training Classes a year and also for a short while it was 7 SEAL Training Classes a year. East Coast Training Classes in Little Creek, Virginia and West Coast Training Classes in Coronado, California. Training Classes that were 16-weeks long, 18-weeks long, 26-weeks long and everything in between. Some Navy Corpsman during the Vietnam era were only required to complete the Diving Phase of SEAL Training before assignments to SEAL Teams. Some Classes had no “Official Hell Week.” Class 50 graduated SEAL Training in Little Creek in December, 1970, Class 50 “also” graduated SEAL Training in May, 1969 in Coronado..

No one Graduated Class 78 and no one Quit in Class 80.

Anyone in the “know” would “fall over” when someone would claim BUD/S Class Alpha 18, Special SEAL Tactics, Unit Battalion, Section Charlie, knowing that SEAL Training Classes are “numbered” ZERO and up… Many others would not, and those numbers and Military Jargon would lead to an apology by the questioner for inquiring about the persons (Phony’s) Navy SEAL background in the first place.

When I went through Training in 1984 there were no books written by SEALs, no movies and no Internet and it was easier to pick out Imposters. With the Internet today and numerous SEAL books, it’s easy to read and pick up Class numbers and dates and many Imposters use those to better their B.S. story. They easily discover Marcus Luttrell’s, the “Lone Survivor’s” Class was 228.

“What BUD/S Class were you in? I was Class 228… Ohhh, Ok sorry to have questioned you Mr. SEAL, now let me buy you drinks all night and listen to all your TALL Tales of Heroism.”

Most SEAL Phonies are pretty dumb, others are not and they “lurk” on SEAL Websites for information and ask questions in forums. They study, they are refined and they get away with it for decades. MANY will read and learn from this article I’ve written.

A survey was conducted by a Beer Distributor for a Men’s Magazine article. They asked Bartenders around the Country for the “Top Ten” pick up lines they’d heard used on women. Number One was “I was a Navy SEAL.”




Another old way of verifying SEAL Phonies, that never worked very well, was asking them who their “Swim Buddy” was in BUD/S. “My Swim Buddy was Ollie Ollieoxenfree,”replies the quick thinking Phony. Ohhh… OK, let me buy you those drinks now…

How would you know if he was lying or not??? You don’t… Same with asking “Who was your Commanding Officer.” When the Phony comes back with “Captain Crunch” was my CO, now what are you going to do??? More than likely you’ll open a tab at the bar and start buying those drinks.

Stay tuned for part two and in the meantime check out ABC’s report here.

About the Author

Chris is a former U.S. Navy SEAL, 18-Delta Combat Medic, and SEAL Sniper. His career included tours with SEAL Delivery Vehicle Team Two and SEAL Team Two in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. You can follow him on Twitter @Chris_Hagerman.


I never in 4 years in the army seen a guy wear metals and ribbons on his dress greens, medals are  worn on dress blues. His other hard ware is in the wrong location as well.If he is army special forces then I am G I Joe.   


Guy on facebook going by "Frank Mancuso" of New York City, claiming to be a SEAL. Can't/won't name his BUD/S class.


There's a guy here in the Philippines (Bacolod City) who goes around saying he's a member of SEAL team "5"?...He's in his 50's and goes by the name Scott Jackson...


Ran into a guy with a "Duck Dynasty" beard at an Asset seminar...Says his name is Bob Hunt, SEAL team 1, RVN service, wounded 4X in RVN...Ten years USN...Amarillo, TX. Story started to fall apart, when he said his combined team of "Marine Rangers" was almost wiped out, due to inclimant WX, and was told to "save one round", etc. Looks to be about 65 years old...Standing there with his wife, I didn't want to ask a class number, etc., but got a bad vibe...


I was hired by a man named Ron Kania Jr. in Miami, Florida.  He claims he was a SEAL and brags about missions and all kinds of BS.  I was in the USN for 6 years and know he is FULL of crap, but would like some definitive proof for other people he continues to lie to.  Where can I have his claims debunked?   Thank you

joan price
joan price

My neighbor terrorizes me with claims that he is a Navy Seal. I am 75 years old and very ill. He shot my outdoor lights out and the police would do nothing to him as I supposed he used that "Seal" thing on them. I think he is a psycopath and dangerous. How can I find out if this crazy man served in the Navy. The other day he took the pan he cooked a turkey in that was filled with grease and poured it all over my garbage can that was outside in the alley. He is a danger to everyone on the block. I want to know if this nut tried to be a Seal and the rejection has driven him crazy. Thank you.


Hello!! First time poster and reader, my apologies for making a request during my first visit and genuinely understand how rude it can appear, but I was curious to know if it would be at all possible to construct an article in the same capacity for SWCC Operators as well, since the Navy most recently (the past 4 years I believe) started actively recruiting for Spec. Warfare Operators during the initial enlistment process, due to the high rate of deployment turnover, I have noticed an increasingly number of men (and I shit you not, one woman in Atlanta) who have been claiming to be a member of the community.  I know that the site is dedicate mainly to identifying phony SEALs but there are several other members of SOCOM community who are being disrespected by these cowards.....Thank You!!!


These people are in my opinion just as bad as child molesters and rapists. Claiming that which you are not is one thing, but self imposing your picture and taking credit for those who dont take credit is ridiculous. Thank you Don Shipley for exposing these traitors. In my opinion, that is what these phonies are, worthless no good pieces of garbage. And they should be treated as such.


Excellent article.  Learning what to look for. 

Hey, how about Rudolph "Rudy" Ernst Boesch a contestant from Survivor: Borneo and Survivor: All-Stars.  He certainly appears to be genuine with a marvelous and long AD record.

 A shame these phonies cause us to question the 'real deal'.


"Consumed a couple bottles of Loudmouth and a shot of Bruce lee."  Ha-ha-ha, excellent.  I spent eight years on active duty as a fleet sailor, so I have an idea on how to cut through the bullshit.

After separation, I've met two of such individuals.  One was at a bar, wearing a ballcap with a embroidered trident on it.  I asked him, "Where did you get the cap?"  He said, "I'm a SEAL!"  I replied, "I asked where you got the cap."  He said a friend gave him the cap, and that he was not, in fact, a SEAL.  I just turned and walked away.

The other guy was new on a job-site where I was working (I worked construction at the time.)  I walked over, and introduced myself.  He spots one of my tattoos and comments that he was in the Navy also, and was a SEAL.  I reply, "Oh really!," and go back to what I was working on.  By the way, I'm 6'6", and 230 lbs.  About an half-hour later he comes over to where I was working, and says, "I wasn't really a SEAL but an OS on a destroyer."  I told him SEALs don't go around announcing themselves, so I figured he was full of shit.  He turned out to be an alright guy.


George Goodew,

Hi G I Joe!

Sorry, I couldn't resist.


@WARPEE  I have also met him, and share your bad vibes.  Would like to find out more ....

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